Review Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 2515 Office-Notebook

Unspectacular appearance The new Amilo PI 2515, made by the German/Japanese producer Fujitsu Siemens computers (FSC), doesen't take any risks regarding appearance. The plain but not ugly notebook Amilo Pi 2515 isn't an exception. Only the small Centrino Duo- and Vista-stickers indicate the modern technology inside this 15.4 inch notebook.

Review FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Logo

Case

Silver-black plastic and round shapes dominate the almost unchanged appearance of the Amilo series since years. By and large, the manufacturing quality is sufficient. The general quality of the used materials is appropriate for an entry level notebook, although the Amilo Pi 2515 obviously doesen't stand a change against many more expensive notebooks. However, the case shows smaller deficiencies only at a second glance.
For example, the gaps at the earphone connection on the front aren't cleanly manufactured, and the connections on the right side - particularly the USB- and LAN-ports - are visibly lower in the case than other connections. The case turns out to be better in comparison and creaks only slightly if lifted up - very good.

The display lid is less appealing. As usual for this class, it can be unlatched with a central slide switch and has to be opened with both hands, which causes a slight creaking noise. The rather stiff hinges never really get the display under control. Slight vibrations transfer directly to the construction. A bumpy train ride thus keeps the notebook permanently vibrating.

 

But even simple typing on the keyboard is already enough. The LCD wobbles permanently while working, which is especially annoying due to the screen reflections. Furthermore, even light pressure on the lid cause drastic image disturbances on the viewing side of the sensitive liquid crystal display - extra care is recommended during transport of the notebook.

Interface equipment

As a classical entry level notebook, the FSC Amilo Pi 2515 offers only standard interfaces. It contains three USB ports and one card reader, as well as an analog VGA output and an optical digital output to transfer audio signals. The producer decided not to include Firewire, Bluetooth, S-Video to connect to a television, webcam or digital DVI output for cost reasons. At least an ExpressCard/54 slot is ready for extensions in the future.

FSC Amilo Pi 2515 accessories
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 accessories
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Accessories

The communication equipment doesn't surprise either. The notebook establishes connections to the home network respectively the internet through the integrated WLAN card or over cable with the LAN connection. The latter works with the fast-ethernet standard and transfers up to 100 MBit/s in one direction. This is more than sufficient for home use, since data can be transferred with up to 12.5 megabytes per second to other computers in the network.

The wireless LAN card Pro/Wireless 3945ABG from Intel is traditionally slower. It transfers data with up to 54 MBit/s and can connect to access points of three globally used wireless standards without problems. Draft-N-Networks (802.11n) with an up to 300 MBit/s fast transfer rate is one of them, although only the slow 54MBit/s compatibility mode is supported. The card can easily be deactivated with a slide switch at the front of the notebook to save energy, if no wireless connection is needed - very good.

 

 

Connections FSC Amilo Pi 2515
Connections FSC Amilo Pi 2515
Basic-Ports of the FSC Amilo Pi 2515

Input devices

The keyboard is by now a known weakness of the Amilo series. The FSC Amilo Pi 2515 is no exception. Keys hit rather blunt, with hardly any feedback and offer only little side stability. Additionally, the right half of the keyboard bends noticeable and rattles noisily. Especially the enter- and arrow-keys are pretty loud. Apparently they aren't tightly attached to the under construction.

The key layout failed to impress as well. It deviates in a few areas from the standard and requires some getting used to. The Fn-key, for example, is located at the very left where the control key usually is. This unnecessary change guarantees confusion for people used to the standard layout. The producer also decided to move the insert and delete key from their usual position to the bottom next to the arrow keys, and put the switch key for the numeric block and scroll key at their location. Those two keys are now conveniently located, but this doesen't make much sense, since they are hardly ever used.

 

 

 

Two additional keys are located above the keyboard. The one on the left starts the Windows Media Player under Vista, while the other puts the notebook in the so called "Silent Mode". As the name implies, the FSC notebook runs almost silently in this mode but with less processor power. More about the silent mode later in this review.

As usual, a touch pad plays the role as mouse replacement for the Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 2515. Like the display it is in wide format. Even untrained users can easily use it, thanks to its generous size. It reacts pleasantly swift to user input and with high precision. The smooth surface allows fast navigation, but makes exact aiming slightly difficult. Unfortunately, the pad doesen't contain a practical scroll area on the side, so that the arrow keys have to fulfill this function. Both touch pad buttons have a pleasantly short movement distance, but appear a bit cheap due to the thin plastic.

Touch pad
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Touch pad
Keyboard
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Keyboard

Display

The display of the FSC Amilo Pi 2515 is a typical glossy display. Bright backgrounds and light sources cause strong reflections on the 15.4 inch surface, due to the BrightView technology developed by the producer. In exchange, images should impress through lively and bright colours. As with many notebooks below 1,000 Euro the producer doesen't quite succeed in achieving this goal. While the colours appear fairly brilliant compared with other reflecting displays, it cannot completely convince regarding saturation. Another weakness of the FSC Amilo Pi 2515 display is the only average contrast.

Much better is the display of colours. In direct comparison with our benchmark display, the Viewsonic VP2030b with MVA-Panel, the FSC Amilo Pi 2515 shows only minimal differences. Only trained eyes can notice a slight red tendency on the reference images and skin-colour output. The display can thus convince, at least as long as we look at it from the opimal viewing angle. Even slight deviations in horizontal or vertical direction have a negative influence on the image quality.

120.0
cd/m²
132.4
cd/m²
116.7
cd/m²
126.7
cd/m²
131.6
cd/m²
121.6
cd/m²
126.8
cd/m²
126.7
cd/m²
130.8
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 132.4 cd/m²
Average: 125.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %

The 15.4 inch display of the Amilo Pi 2515 achieves an average of 126cd/m2 while plugged in and 132cd/m2 running on battery in our objective 9-zone brightness density test. This is enough to lessen reflections inside buildings but clearly too low for a comfortable use under clear sky.

All in all, the display of the FSC Amilo Pi 2515 turned out to be an average glossy display. It neither has specific strengths nor weaknesses. Negatively outstanding compared with other panels with reflecting surfaces are mainly the rather modest colour saturation and high viewing angle dependency.

Performance

The FSC Amilo Pi 2515 is another notebook with Intel's Santa Rosa mobile technology. However, due to the low price Fujitsu-Siemens uses only the slowest processor of the current series, the Core 2 Duo T7100. Despite the name, the processor has only a two and not the for the T7xxx series usual four megabyte cache. Together with the two 1,8GHz fast cores the processor is, apart from detail improvements, equal with the Core 2 Duo T5600 with almost the same features and 1,833GHz clock rate – even though the name initially suggests clearly more.

As a result, the test results are very alike. The FSC Amilo Pi 2515 manages only a two percent lead over the similarly equiped Sony Vaio VGN-C2Z/B with T5600 processor in the Cinebench 2003. No difference is measureable in SiSoft Sandra. Only in SuperPi the new Santa Rosa manages a 13 percent lead – the 133MHz faster (667 to 800MHz) system bus and Intel's Dynamic Acceleration show a positive effect here. The latter automatically overclocks one core by up to 200MHz if an application uses only one of the two available cores.

An Intel GMA X3100 is responsible for graphical output. As with the predecessor, the GMA950, it is integrated onto the chip set and optimized for low energy consumption, not high performance. Furthermore, it doesen't have its own graphic memory and dynamically uses up to 384MByte of the notebook's system memory (shared memory). Despite this, Intel managed to improve performance noticeable. A bit under 900 points in Futuremark's 3DMark05 and 550 points in the 3DMark06 are very little compared with dedicated graphic cards, but sufficient to play some older 3D games.

Hardware FSC Amilo Pi 2515
Hardware FSC Amilo Pi 2515
Inside the FSC Amilo Pi 2515

The FSC Amilo Pi 2515 is well prepared for the preinstalled operating system Windows Vista Home Premium, thanks to 2GByte system memory. Both DDR2 memory sticks are rated at 667MHz and store a gigabyte each. They accelerate the daily work with the operating system a lot, since a large system memory has often a bigger effect on system performance than a fast processor. Even with many opened browser windows and other memory hungry applications the notebook doesen't need to put any data on the, in comparison with the main memory, extremly slow hard disk. Further memory upgrades are difficult, however, because both memory slots are already occupied and, according to Fujitsu-Siemens, only one gigabyte big moduls can be fitted in.

The Amilo Pi 2515 manages very good test results with those swift components and offers plenty of performance in every situation – with the exception of current computer games of course.

The hard disk of our sample notebook not only stores 160GBytes of data, which is unusual large for this price category, the drive from Western Digital is also very fast. It reads data in our HD Tune performance test with very good 36.5MByte/s and access times of short 17,5 miliseconds. Windows Vista rates the drive at 4,8 performance points, which is very high for notebook hard disks which usually achieve between 4,1 and 4,5 points.

3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE5543 points
3DMark 031671 points
3DMark 05883 points
3DMark 06
 1024x768
547 points
Help
3DMark 06 in comparison
Asus Eee PC 901 (min)
 N270, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
73
   ...
Toshiba Satellite L40-14N
 T2310, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
413
Toshiba Tecra M9
 T7100, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
508
Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi2515
 T7100, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
547
Dell Inspiron 1520-PP22L
 T5250, GeForce 8400M GS
1208
Toshiba Satellite A200-1O6
 T7100, Mobility Radeon HD 2400
1328
   ...
Gigabyte P25W (max)
 4700MQ, GeForce GTX 770M
23917
160 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 23.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 45.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 36.5 MB/s
Access Time: 17.5 ms
Burst Rate: 65.1 MB/s
CPU Usage: 17.5 %

Emissions


Noise level

The FSC Amilo Pi 2515 is very silent during typical office work, despite the fast core components. The system fan turns only rarely, but clearly audible on, just to turn off shortly afterwards for longer periods of time. The fan runs permanently under load, however, and increases its speed slowly in three steps. Although the fan is audible on each level, it never gets annoying, because the noise doesen't fluctuate. Unfortunately, the small fan blows the air directly against the mouse hand. Warm fingers are thus even in cold winter nights guaranteed.

Fujitsu-Siemens equipped the notebook with a "Silent Mode" for undemanding office tasks. If this mode is activated through a switch above the keyboard, the system fan either turns off immediately or slows down to turn off a bit later. Additionally, the processor is slowed down to 800MHz clock rate. The result is undisturbed working without noticeable loss of speed - excellent. The Silent Mode can be turned off at any time with the same switch to get full performance within seconds, in case an application should require it.

The hard disk works silent at all times and doesen't stand out acoustically even during excessive number of accesses. Often the small LED in the status bar is the only indicator that the hard disk is even working.

 

 

The same cannot be said about the integrated DVD burner. It starts turning with an ear numbing noise as soon as we insert a medium and gets the entire notebook to vibrate  violently.  It is so loud that working productively is impossible near the FSC Amilo Pi 2515 during games and program installations. Fortunately, the incredible noise only lasts for a short time after inserting a DVD movie and calms down to acceptable levels after a few seconds.

However, the drive made by Optiarc turned out to be a useful burner. It burns DVDs with 8x, and CDs with up to 24x speed. According to Everest, it is supposed to burn rewritable DVD+RWs with 8x speed as well. DVD-RWs with 6x, DVD-RAMs with 5x, and dual layer DVD media with 4x speed. A disc that supports such speeds is obviously required.

Temperature

Powerful fans keep the FSC Amilo Pi 2515 rather cool. Only the left lower surface area and the left upper corner near the fan exit become slightly warm in idle mode. If the processor has to work hard over extended periods of time, the upper frame warms up to an average temperature of 26 and the lower side to excellent 30 degrees.



Max. Load
 22.2 °C26.7 °C28.7 °C 
 23.2 °C28.5 °C29.0 °C 
 22.8 °C25.7 °C25.5 °C 
Maximum: 29.0 °C
Average: 25.8 °C
37.0 °C31.6 °C24.7 °C
33.5 °C33.5 °C25.7 °C
30.6 °C25.7 °C24.8 °C
Maximum: 37.0 °C
Average: 29.7 °C
Room Temperature 19.7 °C

Battery lifetime

Intel's Santa Rosa platform is supposed to be the first Centrino generation that extends battery life time. So far every new version of the mobile series decreased mobility slightly. This seems to actually be the case: In direct comparison with the similarly equipped Sony Vaio VGN-N21S of the Napa generation the Santa Rosa notebook FSC Amilo Pi 2515 manages a slightly longer battery life time. In the undemanding Reader's test of the Battery Eater the Amilo runs with 161 minutes for 17 minutes longer on a 48 watt hour battery than the Sony. In the more challenging Classic test the difference is still 10 minutes. Both values are too low for regular mobile usages however. But three hours without interruption is possible if we lower the display brightness a few notches. After that, a longer stay near a plug becomes inevitable for the FSC Amilo Pi 2515.

Power Consumption

Idle / 27.4 / Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
2h 42min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 20min

Verdict

The FSC Amilo Pi 2515 shows solid  results during the notebook test. Altough a lot could be improved on the wobbly display construction and the clattering keyboard, it offers an useful base for the daily work. Particularly the good performance of the inexpensive Santa Rosa notebook convinces.

The notebook runs typical office applications pleasantly silent, thanks to the office operating mode. More demanding applications are no problem for the Core 2 Duo processor and 2GByte system memory. The same can be said about the fast 160GByte hard disk, which combined with the DVD burner, effectively prevents a lack of space. Only current games are too much for the integrated graphic solution by Intel, though it manages some older titles without problems.

Main usage of the Amilo is clearly on the desk at home. Although it is not too heavy with 2,8 kilogram, the battery lifetime of only about two hours forces the user back to a plug too soon. Furthermore, the brilliant display strongly reflects under unfavorable illumination. It is hard to recognise something on the screen outdoors.

The FCS Amilo Pi 2515 is currently listed in price comparisons at 700 Euros – a fair offer.

FSC Amilo Pi 2515
FSC Amilo Pi 2515
Review: FSC Amilo Pi 2515
FSC Amilo Pi 2515

Specifications

Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi2515

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel GM965
:: Memory
2048 MB, DDR2 PC5300 667MHz, 2x1024MB, max. 2048MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
15.4 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, WXGA BrightView TFT, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
160 GB - 5400 rpm, 160 GB 5400 rpm WD Scorpio WD1600BEVS
:: Soundcard
Motorola Si3054
:: Connections
1 Express Card 54mm, 3 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 56k V.92 Modem, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: microphone, earphones, Card Reader: 4in1 Cardreader,
:: Networking
Realtek RTL8101 (10/100MBit), Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG (a b g )
:: Optical drive
Optiarc DVD RW AD-7540A
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 40 x 257 x 355
:: Weight
2.71 kg Power Supply: 0.3 kg
:: Battery
44.4 Wh Lithium-Ion, 11.1V 4000mAh
:: Price
800 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 32 Bit
:: Additional features
Manual, recovery CD, Ahead Nero Burning Rom Essentials 7, Norton Internet Security 2007 (90-day-test version), 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
Unmistakably Fujitsu-Siemens - The appearance of the Amilo notebook...
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
The surface temperature stays in low regions at all times.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
"Silent Mode" functions enable an almost silent usage of the notebook - with clearly reduced performance of course.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
The equipment of the Amilo Pi2515 qualifies it as a typical office notebook.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
The reflecting display surface shows only modest brightness.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
A keyboard with rattling keys and incomprehensible layout is once again the weak point of the Amilo.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
Handling of the touch pad is effortless but a scroll area is missing.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
Microphone port and earphone connection with S/PDIF function are available.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
...ExpressCard slot for further hardware upgrades, and 4in1 card reader.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
...to basic connections like three USB 2.0 ports,...
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
As usual for this price class, the interface is restricted...
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
A bit problematic is the display, however, which offers only limited stability and wobbles permanently.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
Manufacturing and stability of the base unit is passable.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
The Amilo Pi2515 in 15" wide screen format weights 2.8 kg.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
...a rather plain and simple design, regarding colours and shapes.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
...hasn't changed in a long time and still shows...
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image
Battery life time of only 2.5 hours limits mobility slightly.
FSC Amilo Pi 2515 Image

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Price comparison

Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi2515 on Ciao

Geizhals.at

FSC Amilo Pi2515 (EU)

Pricerunner.de

Pro

+modern Santa Rosa technology
+fast Core 2 Duo processor
+two gigabyte main memory
+large and fast hard disc
+silent office mode
+little heating up of the case
+WLAN slide switch
+low price
+recovery media included
 

Cons

-shaky display construction
-keyboard rattles and bends
-modified key layout
-minor manufacturing deficiencies
-touch pad without scroll function
-strongly reflecting display
-noisy DVD drive
-modest battery life

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi2515 Office-Notebook
Author: Kristian Kübeck, 2008-01-18 (Update: 2012-05-26)